World Economy

Ireland GDP Growth at 5.2 Percent

Ireland GDP Growth at 5.2 PercentIreland GDP Growth at 5.2 Percent

Ireland’s gross domestic product grew by 5.2% in 2016, making it the European Union’s fastest growing economy for the third successive year as a robust recovery remained strong ahead of potential threats from Brexit.

Ireland has rebounded quickly from an economic crash almost a decade ago that pushed it into an international bailout in 2010, and the momentum has continued into this year with unemployment more than halving from a peak of over 15% during the crisis, Reuters reported.

Strong jobs growth boosted consumer spending by 3% last year and the economy expanded by 2.5% on a quarterly basis from October to December, down from 4% in the prior quarter, the Central Statistics Office said.

While Ireland’s finance department sees growth staying above 3% in each of the next three years, it has estimated that a “hard Brexit”—involving Britain losing access to the EU’s single market on quitting the bloc—could knock around 3.5% off Irish GDP within a decade.

Ireland is widely seen as the EU economy most vulnerable to Britain’s departure from the bloc owing to its close trading relationship with its nearest neighbor.

Ireland’s growth last year, which was more than three times the eurozone average of 1.7%, compared to a massive expansion of 26% in 2015, which was the result of a major revision to the stock of capital assets.

Ireland hopes to generate 30,000 more jobs in tourism by 2020 and €5 billion ($5.34 billion) in overseas tourism revenues by 2025. It also hopes to increase Ireland’s indigenous exports, including food, to reach €26 billion by 2020–up by 26% from 2015.

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